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E-Juice - Colors & Steeping

E-Juice - Colors, Steeping & Expiration

 If you have ever wondered what causes your e-juice to become darker and what it means ?

Let's discuss.  E-juice is made from Vegetable Glycerin (VG), Propylene Glycerol (PG), Nicotine and Flavorings. VG & PG are colorless.  Flavorings tend to have a light coloring but there are a few that are extremely dark.  Freebase nicotine tends to have a light pinkish or yellow color and salt nicotine tends to have a light yellow or brown color.  Depending on the ingredients, the day your e-juice is made it will be somewhat colorless.

Most labs make the flavorings ahead of production, if the recipe is say strawberry and banana, the strawberry and banana flavorings are made ahead of time.  When they get an order for strawberry-banana, they take the pre-mix of flavorings (or one-shot) and add the vg, pg and nic into the final bottle.  This means the e-juice tends to be less colorful or more clear. 

It is important to know that all e-juice requires some period of steeping.  Steeping is the common term but in reality, it is really a period of oxidization where the volatile alcohols that some flavorings have are allowed to escape.  E-juice requires a period of breathing once made and 24 hours is the common breathing period to allow the alcohols to escape before capping their escape route.

Oxidization is a good thing and is what causes your e-juice to get a bit darker.  Also referred to as Aging or Maturing, depending on ingredients, a 3-30 day period is ideal to reach maximum flavor.

Once the e-juice is bottled, heat, oxygen and light are the 3 factors that influence the speed of continued oxidization.  At room temperature, normal lighting and never opening the bottle, e-juice is expected to last 18 months before too much oxidization has occurred and the e-juice begins to spoil.  Periods of excessive heat, exposure to sunlight or leaving the cap off allowing fresh oxygen will accelerate this process.  Storing your e-juice bottle in a cool dark place slows down the oxidization process. 

Strongly colored e-juice does not mean your e-juice is not fresh.  Nicotine is by far the dominant ingredient that influences the color change.  Some flavorings oxidize to very strong colors in a short period of time.  Flavorings containing fructose and glucose also oxidize quickly into a brown hue.  When nicotine has oxidized too much and begins to spoil. Under normal conditions, this takes about 18 months from manufacturing date.

So what does does darker colored e-juice mean ?  As you can see it is a complicated answer.

At Record Vapes, we make our e-juice in small batches of normally 1 litre to 1 gallon depending on the expected sales volume.  We do not use the one-shot method, we mix all the ingredients together at the same time and allow a 24 hour breathing period.  Then we cap the bottle and decant into our 30,60 or 120ml bottles at time of ordering. The original batch is discarded at 6 months.  The best before date you see is 12-18 months from the batch date depending on the ingredients.

Finding the right balance between breathing and steeping (oxidizing or aging) we believe helps our e-juice achieve maximum flavor and extends the shelf life.  Bottling e-juice without breathing means the gases from oxidization are re-absorbed.  Some e-juice needs as little as 3 days to reach its potential and some e-juices need up to a month.   Our e-juice averages 6 weeks of age when finally bottled which is a great balance to have.

Feel free to comment or message me if you have any questions.
Scott Proudfoot / Record Vapes


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